We’ve all been there at some point.
The moment when we know something isn’t working in our relationship and have to ask ourselves:
Should I stay or is it time to let go?
The moment when we believe we’ve reached our limit. When we feel like we just can’t take it anymore, whether “it” refers to arguing about the same issue over and over again, giving or enduring the silent treatment, managing resentment, ignoring those thoughts of “what if,” noticing the triggers that force us to open old wounds, or acknowledging the fear that maybe we’re just not right for each other.
The moment when we wonder if it’s better to cut our losses than to stay in a situation that feels hard or uncomfortable. A situation that tests our patience, daily. A situation that doesn’t always look like the idea of love and romance and partnership that we’ve had in our head for years.
But one thing I’ve learned from my own relationships and those I see around me is that whether we’re talking about romantic love or fulfilling careers or even what we’re going to eat for dinner, we all want easy. We want convenience. We want the path of least resistance. We want reality to match the image in our head, but we don’t always want to do the heavy lifting to get there.
And while that’s nice in theory, when it comes right down to it, relationships are all about heavy lifting.
We need to show up every day and be willing to jump into the messiness, the vulnerability, the conversations that make us squirm. We need to be able to acknowledge where we fall short and where we need our partner to show up more. We need to ask ourselves and our partner the questions that matter. We need to be able to manage our sh*t and give our partner space and time to manage theirs.
We need to realize that while falling in love may be the easiest, most natural thing we’ve ever done (and isn’t that the best feeling?!), relationships—if we actually want them to work long-term—require consistent, dedicated effort. They require us to step fully into a world of inconvenience and discomfort and resistance and compromise.
So, before you walk away, before you let go or decide that your relationship, your partner, isn’t right for you, consider this idea from relationship coach Jillian Turecki:
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(And while it should go without saying, I want to be clear that none of this matters if you’re in an abusive, toxic, or emotionally or physically unhealthy relationship. If that’s the case, please reach out to those who can help you do what’s best for you and your overall safety.)